A Personal Budget is money identified to pay for support specified in an Education,
Health and Care plan (EHC plan) for a child or young person with special educational needs. It can include funds from the council for education and social care and from the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for health.
There are four ways you can use a personal budget:
- The council, school or college will look after the Personal Budget for you. This is called an Arrangement or a Notional Budget
- You can receive money directly to manage all or part of the Personal Budget yourself. This is called a Direct Payment. Direct Payments will be monitored regularly to ensure they are used to meet the identified needs and outcomes
- You can opt to have someone else manage the Personal Budget for you. This is called a Third Party Arrangement
- You can have a mixture of some or all of these arrangements
A Personal Budget is not additional funding, it is about using existing funding in a way that suits your needs better.
Who can ask for a personal budget?
Parents of a child with an EHC plan, or a young person (16-25) with an EHC plan, can request a Personal Budget either during the drafting of an EHC plan or once the plan has been issued and is under review.
Personal Budgets may also be prepared if there is no EHC plan. This could be the case when there are no educational needs, but there is a health and/or social care support plan.
What can a personal budget be used for?
Personal Budgets can be used only to fund the support set out in an EHC plan. This must be agreed by the council for education and social care support, and by the CCG for health provision.
The Personal Budget policy for Peterborough is available to download. The policy provides information about the services across education, health and social care that form part of a Personal Budget, how the funding arrangements will work and support available for people in relation to their Direct Payments.
Additionally available to download is a Guide to Personal Budgets which has lots more detailed information.
Direct Payments are an identified sum of money paid directly to the parents of young person to enable them to choose, arrange and pay for services themselves. An agreement has to be signed and the monitoring arrangements will ensure that these directly arranged services still meet the identified outcomes from the Education Health and Care plan.
Commissioning is the process for deciding how to use the total resource available for children, young people and parents/carers in order to improve outcomes in the most efficient and effective way which is also fair and sustainable way.
The Children and Families Act 2014 places a legal duty on Local Authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to secure services to meet the provision set out in individual EHC Plans.
This means that the CCG and the Local Authority will work together to ensure the full integration of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) provision across education, health and care and strengthen the principles of joint planning and commissioning of services as set out in the Children and Families Act 2014, including those that will:
- improve the identification of needs
- support and develop further joint commissioning arrangements through the joint commissioning strategy
- build on work already undertaken in the joint health and wellbeing strategy.
Commissioned services may be provided directly by schools, health services and/or the Council, or they may be purchased from private companies and/or voluntary sector organisations, such as charities. Contracting is the process of negotiating and agreeing the terms of a contract for services, and these contracts are reviewed regularly to make sure that they are delivering the best results and are providing value for money. Commissioners also regularly repeat the Needs Assessment process to make sure that services that are commissioned are still relevant to local needs.
If you are a higher education student living in England, you can apply for a Disabled Students' Allowance if you have a disability, including a:
- long-term health condition
- mental health condition
- specific learning difficulty, eg dyslexia
You must meet the definition of disability under the Equality Act 2010.
The support you get depends on your individual needs and not on income.
If you have disabilities you may be able to claim some money from the Government to pay for your housing or support. There are a number of places you can go for advice and information.
You can speak to a Disability Employment Adviser at your local Jobcentre Plus to see what benefits you are able to claim – you can find out more by calling them on 0345 604 3719.
The Benefits Enquiry Line can tell you what benefits you may be able to receive and give you general information – for new claims you can call free on 0800 055 6688.
Information on other benefits
You may be interested in more information about other benefits that may be available to assist young people and families with children who have special educational needs and disability.
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA) – is help for parents/carers with the extra costs of looking after a child who is under 16 and has difficulties walking or needs more looking after than a child of the same age who doesn’t have a disability.
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – this is gradually replacing DLA for people aged 16 to 64, even for those with an indefinite or lifetime DLA award.
- Child Tax Credits - you could get Child Tax Credit for each child you’re responsible for if they are under 16 or under 20 and in approved education or training.
- Working Tax Credits - you could get Working Tax Credit if either you are aged from 16 to 24 and have a child or a qualifying disability, or you are 25 or over, with or without children.
There are a range of other benefits that families may be able to access depending on their circumstances, and these include:
- Income support - is a means-tested benefit to help individuals or families on a low income and with savings below £16,000
- Employment and support allowance - a benefit for people aged 16 to 64 whose health problems mean that they are unable to work
- Housing benefit - for those who pay rent and are on a low income
- Council Tax support - is for those who are liable for council tax and on a low income - help varies from area to area depending on the local scheme in your area
- Council Tax disability reduction - if you need extra space in your house because of your child's disability.
For more information, you can check the GOV.uk website.
In Peterborough this service is delivered by Disability Peterborough who offer telephone support, drop-ins and family visits about entitlements for families with children and young people with disabilities, including benefit applications and appeals processes.
You can find out more about the service and whether you are eligible for support by calling 01733 265551.
The Royal Association for Deaf People (RAD) and HMRC have launched a new website, Royal Deaf Tax, which provides information in British Sign Language on tax and tax credits, as well as enabling you to book a webcam appointment with the RAD’s tax advisor.
Financial skills are vital for young people as they make the transition to adulthood. The ability to manage money is essential in allowing them to take control of their lives. Young people who have learning disabilities are at particular risk of having poor financial management skills.
Most of them have been in a position where their family or carers take care of all of their finances, so they have not been exposed to – or had the opportunity to see – how financial management works.
This booklet by the Money Advice Service will help you understand and manage your money better.
Natwest Money Sense
Natwest moneysense has introduced new tools to help young people and children with special educational needs learn about money. You can find more deytails about this programme by visiting the Young money website
Are you visiting the Council’s Cash Office? You don’t have to queue if you’re paying:
- Council Tax
- Business Rates
- Parking Fines
- Brown Bin Renewal
Many of the services carried out by the Cash Office are already available online, such as paying for your Council Tax, Business Rates, Brown Bin Renewals and Fines. The rest of our services will be made available through the council website.
You can find more details in the leaflet in the 'Downloads' section titled Questions and answers - Peterborough City Council closing its cash office